Monday, April 26, 2010

Still growing and learning

I continue to be intimidated by the mantle that has been placed upon me, meaning that of a district leader. However, I'm not about to shrink from my responsibilities nor slacken my pace. As with any assignment in the Church, those whom the Lord calls are also qualified. This has given me comfort as I've reflected on it over the past week, and I recognize that such a call brings tremendous responsibility to do my absolute best so that the work in Cincinnati can reach its full potential. Not that this is the first time I've been asked to give my best effort. :) I like something that President George Albert Smith said that Pres. Monson has often quoted:

"It is your duty first of all to learn what the Lord wants and then by the power and strength of His holy Priesthood to magnify your calling in the presence of your fellows in such a way that the people will be glad to follow you."

I believe this is true not only of the missionaries in the district, but also of the Cincinnati Ward, our investigators, and really ALL the people in this area. The most powerful message we can send is the in the way we live. Our district also encompasses the elders serving in Norwood, who have been on their missions for 7 and 3 months, respectively. My companion has been out for about 4 months, so I feel like a really old man!

However, it is a great opportunity to train and motivate younger missionaries, and I kind of feel like an MTC teacher. That'd be cool if I got a chance to do that, but first I'd have to get in to BYU. That's a while off yet, but it would be a cool experience. I've had a few companions who also served as district leaders, and I've discovered in just a week that they were right about two things: You spend a lot of time on the phone, and you have more paperwork to do as well! Not a whole lot of paperwork, but more than before. Oh well, doesn't bother me too much.

We are seeing great progress particularly from Michelle Baker. She has been drug-free for a week now, came to Church yesterday (despite the adversary's attacks), and set her own baptismal date for June 26th, which is the day after her birthday. Likewise, Shawntae has been fighting the temptation to smoke as well as dealing with some health issues, but she and her family came to Church yesterday and she was glad that they did. She had to watch a few of her nieces and nephews over the weekend and was very tired when we talked to her on Saturday night. However, she was able to get up early and get everyone ready for Church on time. It's an exciting thing for me to watch people we teach make important decisions on their own, and thus discover the promised blessings. We are also pushing ahead with our transfer emphasis on finding through the members, and a few of our families are actively working to invite people to be taught.

One of them is Bishop Tensmeyer and his family. Their son, Bob has a "girlfriend" who will graduate this year and who spends a lot of time at the Tensmeyer's home. Well, last Sunday we set up an appointment with the bishop's family to talk about their family mission plan, since effective member-missionary work starts with the bishop. We went over and were introduced to Bob's friend, whose name is Mel. I hope I got the spelling right, and it could be a nickname too. Anyway, we watched as Sis. Tensmeyer perfectly invited Mel to take the lessons from us before she would leave for Penn State later that year. WE DIDN'T EVEN HAVE TO ROLE-PLAY WITH THEM, THEY JUST DID IT!!! Man, faith sure goes a long way!! So we returned the following night on FHE and taught the first lesson, and we are going back tonight for the second. Once again, it's an exciting thing as well to see the members put their trust in the Lord and invite people to hear the restored gospel.....especially when we as missionaries hadn't even talked to them about it yet! So, all in all things are going real well right now!

I was very surprised to read about your phone call from Bro. Brooks from the ward here. They are a really cool family and willing to help us with whatever it is we need. We told them likewise! He served his mission in Salt Lake City several years ago and they were allowed to get on, and he had compiled a huge list of talks that he loaned to me to look through. I came up with a list of talks that I'd like him to make copies of for me, and he was more than happy to do so. I've read like every Ensign in our apartment repeatedly, and so it was good to get something new for a change. :) We also came in contact with a less-active named Chris a few weeks ago that waved at us from his back porch while we were walking past. We went over and found out that he was a member, and he wants to come to the fireside next week and is planning on bringing his non-member brother! I can't tell you how excited I am for the fireside next week and the harvest that I am sure is going to result! Wow, I'm using a lot of exclamation points in this letter!

I'm grateful to hear of the many spiritual experiences you are having, it is a definite highlight in the week and a good way opportunity to see the Lord answering my prayers in your behalf.

I hope and pray that you may continue to see evidence of the Lord's tender mercies each and every day, and that you will be a light to those around you! Have a great week!

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